The Texas Longhorns need consistent production at wide receiver for the promise of the 2013 season to come to fruition. Returning wideouts Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley will be the primary targets for junior quarterback David Ash. There is no doubt about that. Where there is doubt — huge doubt — is the third and fourth receiver slots, for which plenty of guys are engaged in a heated competition.
Although he didn’t catch a pass in 2012, Texas sophomore wideout Marcus Johnson has a great chance at being this third wideout. The 6’1″, 189 pound League City native had an impressive start to fall practice, showing a strong understanding of the new Longhorns offensive scheme, but suffered what those close to the program hope is a temporary setback with a sprained MCL in practice earlier today. The extent of Johnson’s injury is so far unknown, but assuming he returns early in the season or late in camp, the promise is bright.
With the coaching staff’s hesitance to bring Davis and Shipley back into the fold too soon given lingering injuries from the end of the 2012 season, Johnson was seeing his fair share of 1st team reps at receiver along with other newcomers on the Forty Acres like true freshmen Chevoski Collins and Jacorey Warrick. With a wealth of talent at the slot receiver position, the need for Texas is to find an outside threat who can complement the game-breaking speed from Davis that will command attention from opposing defensive coordinators throughout the 2013 season.
Early practice reports suggest that not only was Johnson receiving heavy reps with the first-team offense, it appeared he was already earning a new level of trust with David Ash who was searching for him through progressions in individual drills and live action drills as well. It’s this type of trust between Ash and whoever emerges at the third wideout that will be essential for Texas to find a new threat that can take some of the pressure off of Davis and Shipley to be the bread-winners every single Saturday.
Sparing an injury of severe nature, Marcus Johnson has this opportunity right in front of him.